I'm always surprised at the way things can be controversial in Tallahassee but matters of obvious consensus outside Capital Circle.
Consider texting. A poll released Thursday by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service along with the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research showed 95 percent of those asked supported a ban on texting while driving. Only 4 percent said they were opposed to such legislation.
Florida's a divided state on most issues. I doubt you could reliably get a 95 percent positive response to the question "Am I holding up four fingers?" Even if you held up the requisite number of digits. Yet here's the same number in a legit telephone poll with a 4.9 percent margin of error. So, OK, maybe it's possible only 90 percent of Floridians support a ban on texting.
Everybody seems to know drivers shouldn't do this. Yet bills to make texting while driving a traffic offense have gone nowhere in the Legislature for the past three legislative sessions.
You can be ticketed for having a burnt-out bulb above your license plate or for windows that are tinted too dark but feel free to comment on road conditions in real time. Even measures that would only ban this for student drivers consistently failed.
This year, six bills have been filed to keep drivers from texting behind the wheel. Only one has made it into committee but, hey, the session is still young.
And there are improved chances this year because some of the strongest opponents to anti-texting bills were term-limited or failed to win election last year. Read More